Celebrating 70 years of Colorforms

When assisting in kindergarten in past years, the kids would share their version of colorforms with me knowing it was my favorite game to play as a child myself. But just last week I walked into a kids store and there they were…the original colorforms…dressing up for the weather just like when I was kid in the 1960’s but modernized. I also remember dressing up Tammy, the Beatles in 1964 and for the boys they gravitated to Batman and Scooby Do. In the 1990’s, my son enjoyed Colorfoms when he wanted to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Curious George. Colorforms is easy with shapes cut from vinyl and can cling to a smooth background making your own special design. Colorforms is one of the most loved and respected toys beginning with the couple Harry and Patricia Kislevitz in 1951.

The first Colorforms® set was hand-cut: a thimble, a bottle, and a medicine container top were just some of the shapes that would become the foundation of the very first Colorforms set, designed by Patricia, and now housed in the Museum of Modern Art in its permanent collection. Colorforms® first launched through FAO Schwarz.  Colorforms first launched through FAO Schwarz and in 1957 Popeye became the first licensed cartoon character to be featured in a Colorforms set.

In the 2000’s, though Internet use boomed, Colorforms came alive with Harry Potter, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer and the Hungry Caterpillar. In 2011, Time magazine awarded Colorforms as the toy of all time. In 2014, Out of the Blue Enterprise acquired Colorforms. Billions of sets have been sold and Colorforms continues to make the best plastic creative toys and I continue to gravitate towards any student who is playing with a set. I can’t wait to play.

Top of the list in 2020 gifts : Barbie’s Dream house (1962)

One day, I overheard the first grade girls in my class talking about the big present they wanted for Christmas. According to them, everyone gets a big present so I asked what they wanted….I heard them say it was 3 stories. Actually, they showed me a picture of the latest and greatest…the Barbie Dreamhouse. But what they didn’t know, that I quickly shared was the first dreamhouse for Barbie was created in 1962 and I got it for Christmas under the tree the first year it came out…hah hah…the big present... I even have a faded movie of me playing with the house. When I showed them a picture, they were not impressed.

The house I got was made of paper and cardboard. You could fold it up and carry it like a suitcase. It was a one room design with everything in it including bed, sofa, and console with stereo and TV. My father hated putting the furniture together but I took special care of it. It lasted until my college days. It had been stored in a basement and there was a flood. That was the end of that. I still want another one!

In the early 1970’s, the townhouse had been three stories and partially plastic with a working elevator and the furniture was plastic. It showcased a patio with a pool painted on one side of the back wall as well her own study or office. But 1979, they produced an A- frame house which I always wanted, a real one that is. It had working doors and windows including six rooms and was very realistic. At this time, they created mirrored top coffee tables and end tables….furniture I had and still do. 

I also liked the early townhomes Barbie had in the early 1980’s. Loved the paintings on the wall and depicted the great 80’s style of wicker, especially white. There was also a dream cottage which was one story with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom as well as a pool area.

Now in the early 1990’s, what my daugther’s generation always wanted was the magical mansion that was two stories, sx rooms, with working lights. The windows truly reflected 90’s culture. It featured a working fireplace that lit up as well as a working telephone and doorbell but my daughter thought it was just too pink. In 1998, a castle type, Victorian house was created that had stained glass windows and bay windows.

In the early 2000’s, the house became three stories with a toilet that actually flushed. In 2014, the house with three stories and two elevators. Today, the Barbie DreamHouse measures an impressive 3+ feet tall and 4+ feet wide and features 3 stories, 8 rooms and 70+ accessories. Special amenities include a working elevator, home office, carport and second-story pool. Barbie also has a Malibu cottage and her own plane. For over 60 years old, she is quite the celebrity and quite the jettsetter.

Anyone who is interested in purchasing the original dream house, Ebay offers an excellent selection of my Barbie house and one that actual includes record albums that were popular at the time and almost as much money as the houses today. Boy, I don’t remember the albums and it looked like one of them was of Frank Sinatra…not impressed. Now, if I could find an album that represented the beginnings of rock and roll, I…………….